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LRC 2017 Annual Dinner

The Club's Annual Dinner on Friday 27 January 2017 was a sell-out!




Our guest of honour was Jonathan Steel, the President of Remenham Club who proposed the health of London Rowing Club. Jonathan rowed at LRC in the 1960s. Our Captain Matthew Cummings replied, and proposed the health of our guests.  The Captain of Vesta Rowing Club, Harry Bond replied on their behalf.



Our thanks are due to Olivia Malcolm Berry and her team for giving us a memorable and enjoyable evening.



[Photographs:  Chris Whyte]


During the dinner an updated internationals board was displayed, and a new listing also made an appearance of the Club's winners in the Scullers' Head of the River Race, featuring the Club's four winners  - see photos below. 




Jessica Eddie (Silver medal in the Women's VIII) and Mark Aldred (B Final winner in the LM4-), who rowed in the Olympics at Rio, with the internationals board.  Imogen Walsh (Gold medal in the WL4x in the World Championships at Rotterdam) was abroad and unable to attend the dinner.  




Stephen Feeney and John Melvin standing alongside the Blackstaffe Trophy and the new Scullers' Head winners' list. Stephen (left) won the event in 2010;  John was deputising for his father, Doug, who won in 1957 and 1958. Other LRC winners have been John Marsden in the inaugural race of 1954 and Tony Fox in 1955 and 1956.  







[Photographs: Tim Grant]


Hadaway Harry coming to LRC soon!

In February 2017 London Rowing Club will play host to a hit play about the Victorian Geordie rower who invented the sport we know and love so much today.

Harry "Hadaway" Clasper, who was from Tyneside, was the Sir Steve Redgrave of his day having led seven teams to win the Championship of the World on the Thames at Putney. In addition Harry, in the 1840s, invented and built the slim, light boats and outriggers used by modern scullers.  At the time Clasper's revolutionary new initiatives were ridiculed because rowers were still using the old clinker-built boats that had been a feature on rivers for centuries.  Harry also went on to train future world champions and umpired world championships.

The play, "Hadaway Harry", which will be performed at Newcastle's 1200-seat Theatre Royal, will have an out-of-town-run at  London Rowing Club.  The play itself, which was performed to sell-out crowds and received standing ovations on Tyneside in June 2015, focuses on the very first time the Geordie oarsmen - led by Clasper and comprising his brothers - defeated the "unbeatable" Thamesmen in 1845.

Playwright Ed Waugh, whose shows have been performed nationally and internationally, explained: "Rowing was the sport of the working class prior to football. Every major river had its champion so there was huge interest in matches because civic pride was at stake.  "When Harry led his team of brothers to Putney in 1845 to win the World Championship for the first time it caused a sensation nationally; was akin to Fulham beating Barcelona in the final of the European Cup!  Even Charles Dickens wrote about the wonderful spectacle of the Geordies versus the Thamesmen.  The National Rowing Museum in Henley features the modern greats but at the very start of the rowing timeline there you'll see writ large the name of an illiterate, former Durham miner called Harry Clasper."

Waugh added: "After 1845, Harry went on to dominate national rowing for the next 25 years and when he died in 1870, aged 58, more than 130,000 people crammed the streets of Newcastle and Gateshead to pay tribute."

Harry Clasper was a regular visitor to Putney. He often lodged in The Feathers pub at the mouth of the River Wandle when preparing for races.  Harry Clasper's son, John Hawks Clasper, himself a top rower, went on to live in Putney; Lower Richmond Road and Stainbridge Road, both within a few hundred yards of the London Rowing Club.  John, who also lived in and ran The Feathers pub, was a master boater builder; his workshop, on the banks of the Thames in Putney, is now the Westminster School boathouse, which still bears his name, JH Clasper.

Hadaway Harry will be performed at London Rowing Club on Friday and Saturday, February 17 and 18. The show starts at 7.30pm on both evenings with a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday.  Tickets, limited to 80 per show, cost only £16 from (0191) 424 7788.  For further details visit:  You can also watch a trailer on









LRC Annual Dinner 27 January 2017

The Club's Annual Dinner will take place at the Clubhouse on Friday 27 January.  All Members should have received an email with full booking details, and are urged to book as soon as possible as tickets are limited in number.

Tickets cost £50 each, and the price includes a pre-dinner reception followed by a three-course meal.  Dress for the Dinner is either Black Tie or Club Blazer with a bow tie.

If applying by post your completed application should reach the Venue and Events Manager's Office at LRC by Saturday 14 January.  If applying by email, please send to  Applications by telephone, or without payment, cannot be accepted.

Seating will be arranged in tables of 10.  We will do our best to meet your expressed wishes as to where you sit.  Guests, especially from other rowing clubs, will be most welcome.

The reception starts at 7pm, and the Dinner starts at 8pm.


LRC's Christmas stocking fillers!

Stuck for a Christmas present ?  Here is a selection of books for you.....

The Club’s history "Water Boiling Aft".  Written to mark the Club’s 150th anniversary in 2006.   Author: Christopher Dodd, LRC member and well-known rowing correspondent, journalist and author.  Published by the Club.  The book was very well reviewed and received at the time of publication.

Special price to Members £20 + p & p.  E-mail Or call in to the Office in person.







Two other books by Chris Dodd, available either from the River & Rowing Museum bookshop ( – shop – books, tel 01491 415600) or Richard Way Bookshop (54-56 Friday Street, Henley, 01491 576663):

“Bonnie Brave Boat Rowers: The Heroes, Seers and Songsters of the Tyne”

The Tyne produced champion oarsmen, innovative boat designers  and music hall songs to honour them for a hundred years. [It also produced the Club’s earliest rowing boats from 1856 onwards, including its twelve oars (one of which is now in the Members’ Room in the form of five bookcases !)] Paperback, £9.99.


“Pieces of Eight:  Bob Janousek and his Olympians”

Chris Dodd’s memoir of the coach and feisty crew who restored the country to the Olympic medal podium.  “A masterpiece” says Colin (Lord) Moynihan (LRC member and former international cox, 1978-81).  £20.







And here’s a book by another LRC member, Hugh Dulley (usually to be seen at the Met Regatta prize tent looking after trophies and dispensing winners’ medals), recently published:

“A Voyage to War: an Englishman’s Account of Hong Kong 1936-41”

Published by Unicorn Publishing. To order telephone 01892 871413 or contact .  Special price £18.75 (25% off RRP).


"Tubby Bryant's" boat-naming party

Over 50 familiar faces and familiar names (among them, former Club Captains, Chairmen and Presidents) gathered at the Club on 6 October to christen an important piece of Club history and to salute three very important Club members. 

The evening, hosted by "The Irregulars", was organised to name the former Club Tub Pair -- built at Eton College in the late 1800s, used regularly by the Club for coaching in the 1920s and '30s, rescued from the scrap-heap back in the 1960s and generously donated back to the club to raise over £3,000 for the Gym Appeal by LRC member Owen "Tubby" Bryant. It was also an evening - long in the planning - to celebrate the contributions of Iain Laurenson, John Pearson and Rob van Mesdag to "The Irregulars" and to the Club over many years.

The Long Room was looking at its best - beautifully decked out by Olivia, Tom and the team. (They even managed an easyJet-style "turn-around" following a wedding lunch in the club, just before the dinner.) Our regular Irregulars chef, Serena Cottrell, did a fantastic job in the face of rather overwhelming numbers for dinner to serve up her usual delicious fare.

The first half of the evening was dedicated to naming "Tubby Bryant" and wishing her a new lease of life on the river with her new caretakers - a group of around 25 LRC members. We were delighted that Owen, aka "Tubby", was at the dinner along with his wife, Sally, Colin and Barbara Kester, Chris Sprague, Simon Rippon and club archivist Julian Ebsworth.

The second half of the evening was dedicated to three extraordinary club members and Irregular stalwarts -- Iain Laurenson (right), John Pearson (below) and Rob van Mesdag (left) -- who have been long-serving, loyal and generous members of the club and are a huge inspiration to the current Irregulars. Eddie Markes gave a speech and presented framed photographs of the trio (together with bow steer John Auber) taken on a recent outing on the Tideway with Hammersmith Bridge in the background. The photograph was taken and kindly donated by club member and photographer Mark Ruscoe who was driven in a launch by Dylan Wing.  Jacqui Grosch spoke from the heart (her own and all the hearts of the lady Irregulars) about these three well-loved and highly regarded men, most especially Iain Laurenson who has shown exceptional support from the earliest days.

We also discovered that the Irregulars have something of a poet-in-residence, in the form of Richard Cross, who at that moment, captured the evening by penning "Boat Naming", reproduced below.

A rather extraordinary evening.

London Rowing Club, Putney Embankment, 6th October, 2016

At the renaming of the club’s now and distinguished skiff, Tubby Bryant, a former ‘skip’,

And in celebration of the rowing careers to date of Messrs Laurenson, Pearson and van Mesdag, ‘Irregulars’...


Boat Naming

As ushers in the Tideway Thames, to feast

Our times, we gather here and toast our friends

That e’er rowed oar, with renamed skiff from past

And Eton,“Tubs”.  Her subtle, lithe-long line

Lies darkly this October night, offsets

Less brazen craft; her varnished flanks, time-worn,

Cry out our throng “restore my innocence”

And “tell not whom as crew, nor cox, I’ve borne!”


For she had taken much and many’a stroke

Of Fortune, next the banks of Father Thames;

For upstream many’a ‘blade’ she’d wily coached

To nuptials all downstream; her sturdy frames,

Enigma, rode all tide and ran the flood,

The torpid ‘swells’, even, by Hammersmith.